The Dharma Bums

  • by Jack Kerouac
  • Narrated by Tom Parker
  • 7 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Two ebullient young men are engaged in a passionate search for dharma, or truth. Their major adventure is the pursuit of the Zen way, which takes them climbing into the high Sierras to seek the lesson of solitude - a lesson that has a hard time surviving their forays into the pagan groves of San Francisco's bohemia, with its marathon wine-drinking bouts, poetry jam sessions, experiments in "yabyum", and other non-ascetic pastimes.This autobiographical novel appeared just a year after the author's explosive On the Road put the Beat generation on the literary map and Kerouac on the best-seller lists. The same expansiveness, humor, and contagious zest for life that sparked the earlier novel ignites this one.


What the Critics Say

"A vivid evocation of a part of our time." (New York Post)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I can check the box on this American writer

Ray meditates in the woods. Ray goes on a road trip. Ray sleeps in the train yard. Ray goes on a hike with his buddies. They talk a lot of pseudo eastern philosophy bull. They go back to a shack. Everyone gets drunk. Everyone gets laid. By the same Barbie nympho doll. Ray goes on a road trip. Ray sleeps in a train yard. Ray goes home and Momma cooks for him. Ray meditates in the woods. Ray goes on a road trip. Ray meets up with buddies. They talk a lot of pseudo eastern philosophy bull. They throw a party and get drunk. Several women show up and wish they could have sex with Ray's friend. Ray goes on a road trip. Then Ray climbs a mountain. More pseudo eastern philosophical BS. The end.

I get that this was very influential in 1958. That millions of young men thought this footloose lifestyle was some kind of statement about individualism and freedom. But boy, it just reads like BS today. And if you've read On the Road already, this is a pale duplicate only with eastern BS thrown in to try and make it mean something. Which it doesn't. It doesn't mean anything except Kerouac didn't like women or working.

Kerouac was a great writer. I wish he'd been a better man and given us better material. I am totally done with him now.

The narrator was great.
Read full review

- E. W. Sawyer "Book Lover"

Goes Nowhere and Does Nothing

What disappointed you about The Dharma Bums?

I thought maybe there was something of substance to this book, but there was nothing of substance there.

Would you ever listen to anything by Jack Kerouac again?

I don't think so. The idea that he was some sort of guru or something is a sad notion that not even die hard aging hippies are likely to believe. He's just a guy who did some drugs and learned a little about an Eastern religion.

What does Tom Parker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I'm not sure really. I suppose he did a decent job, but nothing jumps off the table and says "This is something special"

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Just disappointment at wasting my time. It happens now and then, you pick a book off the "Must read before I die" list and find out it really actually sucks.

Any additional comments?

I can't imagine why this book shows up in certain "Must Read" lists. Obviously nobody who puts these lists together has actually suffered through this dull book.

Read full review

- Joe Bloggs "Simple Joe"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-24-2008
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.